High Divide – Seven Lakes Basin Loop*^ (Olympic)

Date: 06/05/2015

Location: Sol Duc Hot Spring

Distance: 19 miles (Loop)

Elevation Gain: 4000 feet

Highest Point: 5370 ft

Time: 10 hours

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (37)

Sol Duc Fall

Much thought and trepidation have been given to take on this herculean trail due to its distance and elevation and the logistic of getting to TH with the pricey and popular Sol Duc Hot Spring Resort as the only nearby lodging. All that changed with the record low snow pack of ’14-’15 winter, suddenly the trail, normally snow clogged well into July, was cleared of it by Memorial Day, way before ONP’s peak tourist season. It’s rubber hits the road for me on this sunny first weekend of June.

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (38)

Mile 1 to 5  Getting There

“There” is the crest of High Divide Trail. Admission to this paradise cost 3000 + ft of vertical gain over 5 miles through mostly mundane canopied trail, though Sol Duc Fall at mile 1 and Deer Lake at mile 3 provided brief distraction.  BTW, this was the counterclockwise approach.

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (39)

Deer Lake

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (40)

Around mile 4, the trail broke out of the forest.

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (41)

Crest of the High divide reached at mile 5

Mile 6 Should I have Lunch at Lunch Lake?

With view improving constantly and grade lessening, Seven Lake Basin junction was reached.  A quick detour affords the stunning view of Round and Lunch Lakes several hundred feet below.  I could not resist the seductive Lunch Lake, and plunged to lake side.  Unfortunately, hordes of mosquitoes interrupted my time by the water, and the steep ascend back to main trail was the toughest stretch of my journey.  Moral lesson?  Lunch Lake visit demands a nice leisurely lunch on site to be worthy of the effort.

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (43)

Round Lake

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (42)

Lunch Lake

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (44)

Lunch lake shore

Mile 7 Unveiling of Mt. Olympus

It’s only natural after a hard climb out of Lunch Lake that the main trail decides to gain big elevation too.  Between huffs and puffs, glimpse of the majestic Mt. Olympus massif eased my physical toil slightly.

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (46)

From Bogachiel Peak, looking South at Mt. Olympus and Hoh River Valley

From Bogachiel Peak, looking South at Mt. Olympus and Hoh River Valley

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (45)

Looking North to the Seven Lake Basin

Mile 8-10 Ridge Supreme

The trail is now flanked by tree lined, meadowy, lake dotted Seven Lake Basin to North and the distant snow capped Mt. Olympus and Hoh River Southward.  Visual euphoria, aka Hiker’s high, ensued.

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (47)

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (48)

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (51)

Seven Lake Basin to North

Seven Lake Basin to North

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (53)

Heart Lake at mile 10

High Divide - 7 Lakes Basin (54)

Heart lake shore

Mile 11-19 Purgatory 

It’d be quite unfair to characterize rest of the trail as drags; however, with the exhaustive highs, this section was the fitting lows.  The usually pleasant downhill tree lined trail morphed into an insufferable endless treadmill.

One of 1/2 dozen foot bridge on return

One of 1/2 dozen foot bridge on return

3 thoughts on “High Divide – Seven Lakes Basin Loop*^ (Olympic)

  1. Beyond Walking

    Nice report. I’m heading to ONP (and North Cascades) in late July and am completely overwhelmed by my options. It’s helpful to read recent reports. The middle of this hike sounds great, but the “purgatory” section sounds a lot like sections of Shenandoah that just keep going… and while I like Shenandoah, it’s just that type of hike I try to find something different from by heading out west.

    Like

    Reply
    1. whazarook Post author

      Thanks. Since you are visiting NCNP, I would emphasize the unique coastal and rain forest trails in ONP. NCNP has some world class alpine day trails that are easier physically and just as stunning visually, e.g., Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm, Maple/Heather Pass Loop and Hidden Lake Lookout to name a few. They are all detailed in my blog’s North Cascades/Mt. Baker section.

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s